Air Lease Corporation tops LOI with launch order for Airbus new freighter

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 15, 2021, ©. Leeham News Dubai: Air Lease Corporation (ALC) crowned its agreement for 111 Airbus single-aisle and wide-body aircraft with a launch order for the new A350F freighter.

The order for seven A350F was part of a 111 unit long-term deal to top up ALC’s 100 aircraft order from Le Bourget Airshow 2019. With 25 A220-330s, 55 A321neos, 20 A321 XLRs, four A330neos, and seven A350Fs, Air Lease is now covered until after 2025.

“We think it’s timely to order these aircraft now, before the post COVID rush for new aircraft sets in,” said Air Lease’s Executive Chairman Steven Udvar-Hazy. The leasing company thus secures its availability of aircraft in a market with rekindling demand and an Airbus that’s approaching capacity limits.

Air Lease Corporation, the launch customer for A350F

“Air Lease Corporation was the launch customer for the A330neo, the A321LR, and XLR, and now we continue this tradition with the A350F. We are convinced we have made the right choice again with the A350F,” said Udvar-Hazy.

ALC’s CEO and President John Pluger filled in: “The order for seven A350F corresponds to discussions with seven airline customers for placement of the freighters in 2026. We can’t confirm any placements yet as we haven’t had a contract for the aircraft, but discussions are active, and there is high interest from, for instance, existing A350 customers”.

The new heart of the market, and A220’s growing popularity

The top-up order for single-aisle is typical in that only A321neos and XLRs are ordered, no A320s. The A321 is the new heart of the market and the XLR Airbus’ icing of the cake.

The smaller A220 is also seeing increased interest. ALC increased its 2019 order of 50 A220 with another 25 by exercising its option from the 2019 contract. “We see a growing demand for the A220,” said Udvar-Hazey. “With the order, we increase our position as the largest A220 lessor”.

There is also three A330neo in the order, “and all three are placed with customers,” said Pluger.

Joint Sustainability fund

As part of the order Air Lease and Airbus sets up a multi-million dollar ESG fund to support research into Sustainable Aviation. The fund will be open to other lessors and finance institutions to join.

29 Comments on “Air Lease Corporation tops LOI with launch order for Airbus new freighter

  1. Good to see this company setting up a fund to invest in ESG work. I’d be interested to know more about its funding and aims.

  2. Particularly interesting:

    “ALC’s CEO and President John Pluger filled in: “The order for seven A350F corresponds to discussions with seven airline customers for placement of the freighters in 2026. We can’t confirm any placements yet as we haven’t had a contract for the aircraft, but discussions are active, and there is high interest from, for instance, existing A350 customers”.”

  3. Good to see the A220 getting some respect. Hopefully the better uptake leads to some some incremental investment by AirBus. There is so much potential in that aircraft for long range PtoP routes. Especially if AirBus can find a way to increase range enough to let it fly Eastern US to Western Europe routes year round. It probably needs another 500 nautical miles or 15% range to do Frankfurt NY year round. The A220-100 is fuel volume limited so an integrated tank ala 320XLR plus a small engine PIP may do it.

    • Fully agreed. Also the 500 variant.

      I know its a snoot-full to take on, but it would go gangbusters.

  4. Interesting in the context of Sunday’s big order:
    “Wow: Wizz Air Now Has 429 Planes On Order”

    https://simpleflying.com/wizz-air-plane-orders/

    This must be making O’Leary uneasy: Wizz’s A321s can carry 15-20% more passengers than Ryanair’s 737s, and Wizz seems to be heading further afield with its base in Abu Dhabi.

    • Yup. Wizz is the only competitor with unit costs near that of Ryanair, and the A321 is a weapon.

      That said, there are many areas where there is very little route overlap. North-South in Western Europe is mostly Ryanair and North-South in Central and Eastern Europe is mostly Wizz. East-West seems to be where they mostly compete…

  5. I find that a lease company is the one jumping in.

    Usually the dedicated freight companies or the arms of airlines that have them do so.

    Shades of the A380F that had (5 or 10) for a lease company that had no market.

    Hazy was clearly wrong on the A330NEO market.

    • ILFC had 5 A380F orders , the other 12 were for Emirates, UPS and FedEx

      ALC has 23 A330 neo of which 10 delivered.
      338 A330 neo orders in total of which maybe 100 could be iffy. But its only low monthly production

      • Duke:

        ILFS sounds correct but UPS and FedEx had 10 each as I recall and I don’t think Emirates had any.

        In fact, I believe FedEx has options on more, they put a lot of money into infrastructure for it before it was realized it was going bust.

        UPS may as well but I was not involved with them to any degree

      • Every A330neo is a B787 mostly -9 not sold.

        On an Airbus desing that was almost there already as the A350 first try. And that has been new engine and small improvments.

        Where ever the A330neo sales go, if they stay around 300 or if it will become about 500, it should never end up in a loss for Airbus from there.

    • Remind me who’s the launch customer of the B777F and how many jets were ordered??

      • Perhaps you meant 777XF…i.e. the paper-plane freight derivative (with unknown specs) of the delayed, TIA-less passenger VLA with its 50% shaky order book? 🤔

        • With 280 orders for existing in production 777F, what would Boeing know about the air freight business
          Add to that 100 747-8F and 126 747-400F built too.
          It seems the A350F is well specified so should do well

          • With the experience of developing three generations of 737, one would have thought Boeing knows a thing or two about how to make a safe jet. Reality sadly disagrees. Today’s BA is hardly the same one a couple decades ago.

    • Emirates was saying 2024-25 earlier year. FAA similar. Since then no substantial break thru’s were seen for 777x certification process, contrary..

      What does Clark expect, Boeing / politics pressuring FAA and EASA to take short cuts? Get flexible?

  6. Another substantial order for Airbus in Dubai:

    “Airbus won its third deal of the Dubai Air Show on Tuesday valued over $3.3 billion to sell 28 new aircraft to Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways. The European plane maker’s agreement includes 20 single-aisle A320neos and eight A321neos, which competes directly with Boeing’s 737 Max, along with an option to sell another five new planes to the low-cost, fast-growing airline.”

    https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/airbus-jazeera-airways-strike-3-3-billion-aircraft-deal/2370239/

  7. All this frenzy over freighters. Will there still be demand for dedicated freighters when pax levels recover?

  8. Air France looks for me a possible customer , two reasons
    Their 777f will be more than 15years in 2026
    Already a359 operator.
    L’aube other Airlines in such configuration?

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